Scope of Care

The purpose of this Scope of Care page is to provide understanding on the mental health and psychological concerns that can be treated by the TCU Counseling & Mental Health Center (CMHC) and to explain the four objectives which guide our model of counseling.

  • CMHC uses a Comprehensive Collaborative Care Model, consisting of 4 key objectives:
  1. Collaborate with community partners to offer specialized services on campus for students with high mental health needs.
  2. Foster peer support communities and recovery services for a wide range of mental health domains.
  3. Implement a “Multi-Track Counseling System” with dedicated triage and crisis response services.
  4. Work with on-campus partners to better serve students with sub-clinical needs.
  • Services provided by our staff counselors (which most students utilized) are covered by the cost of tuition. We do offer specialized services for students with high mental health needs on campus through partnerships with community providers, and these services are not covered by the cost of tuition. Many of these providers accept the major health insurance carriers and in some situations the cost/co-pays are covered by grants, gracious donations, etc. Please make sure to the discuss the cost of treatment if you utilize one of these specialized services.
  • CMHC’s primary focus is providing clinical treatment and recovery services for TCU students. We support other departments, such as Campus Recreation & Wellness Programming, in promoting prevention and general wellness; however, the majority of our services are designed for students with mental health and psychological concerns. Thus, we do not typically participate in outreach activities such presentations in residential halls, interviews for course assignments, etc.
  • No presenting concern is “too small” or “not bad enough” to been seen in our center and some students even request single sessions to discuss personal situations in a confidential manner.
  •  Even with our partnerships with community providers, CMHC is not a behavioral health hospital and we do not possess all levels of care that a community treatment center can provide. Sometimes the best response we can give is to connect, assess, and refer to providers in the community.
  • In order to serve a community of over 10,000 students, our services are goal-directed, structured, and solution focused. We do not provide “open-ended counseling” or “long term counseling” because this will limit access to our services. Though we do not have formal session limits, students typically average 6-8 sessions a semester. If you feel the need for more sessions than this, a referral for long-term counseling might be warranted.

We define our general scope of care regarding individual counseling with one of our staff therapists as treating students with mild-to-moderate distress, or with severe distress that’s likely to reduce rapidly with clinical interventions.

Possible indicators that severe distress could reduce rapidly with clinical interventions include:
a.) Severe distress that is acute/short-term/recent in nature.
b.) Severe distress with 1-2 specific symptoms (i.e. panic attacks).
c.) Severe distress that appears in response to adverse situations.
d.) Severe distress that is known to reduce rapidly with interventions that CMHC can provide (i.e. use of bio-feedback and medication management to treat severe panic attacks)

When presenting concerns are beyond CMHCs scope of care, we consider it an ethical obligation to provide referrals to community providers who can offer the appropriate level of treatment. Some of these community providers offer specialized services on our campus for students with high mental health needs, so please reach out to us even if you are wanting services that are beyond what our staff therapists can provide.

Sub-clinical services for the TCU community – These services are designed for students with mild distress and/or who are seeking non-clinical interventions. Examples include workshops for Anxiety and Stress Management, BASICS consultations, Campus Advocate & Resource Education, general consultations about mental health issues, and our “Need to Talk” 24/7 phone counseling line.

Drop-in/Crisis Response services – These services consist of a team of counselors who only provide triage/intake services and crisis response services to students, and members of this team do not carry a traditional case load as do our staff therapists. These services are designed for students who are interested in formal counseling and/or who are experiencing a significant mental health crisis or urgent psychological concern. Any TCU student can utilize these services; however, utilizing these services does not always result in on-going counseling with one of our staff therapists. Our drop-in/crisis response team have the option to schedule a follow-up session with students, recommend that students connect with a community provider off-campus, or direct students to other campus resources such as the Dean of Student’s Office. Students must meet with a drop-in/crisis counselor prior to being assigned to a staff therapist for counseling. The purpose of the initial drop-in session is to assess how the student’s goals for counseling match with the services that CMHC provides. When there’s not a match, a referral to a community provider is often the course of action. However, over 80% of the students who present to our center can be treated by one of our services or programs. In addition, we do not merely provide students with a referral list of names and phone numbers. Students have the option of meeting with a member of the drop-in/crisis response team until the connection with a community provider has been established.

Multi-Track Counseling services – CMHC offers a variety of services that go beyond individual counseling. For example, research suggests that group therapy is a more powerful intervention for long-standing interpersonal concerns. In addition, our equine therapy program is perhaps the most powerful intervention that we can offer to students experiencing panic attacks. Furthermore, as with every major university, we can not hire enough therapists to ensure that every student on campus has an individual counselor (we would need over 400 therapists for a school our size!). Thus, we utilize a multi-track system of counseling services in which students are assigned to “a clinical track” after their initial intake/triage session. Examples of our clinical tracks include a single session track, brief counseling track (requiring 1-3 sessions), crisis management track, substance use and recovery services track, group counseling track, short-term individual counseling track (6-8 sessions within a semester), maintenance track (for students who only need occasional sessions), and transition of care track (for students wanting long-term counseling from a community provider).

Specialized services for students with high needs – National trends suggest that hosting higher level of services on campus can help some students continue their enrollment in the university, ease financial burdens, and increase motivation for treatment. Thus, CMHC has partnered with local treatment providers and private donors to host  Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP’s), an Equine Assisted Therapy Program, and a Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) program on campus. Availability of these specialized services are limited and students must be referred by a campus health professional. Tuition does not cover the cost of these services and most students use their insurance to cover this cost.

Peer Support Communities & Recovery Services – As demonstrated by the field of substance use treatment, the effects of counseling interventions can be short-lived without active peer support and the mentality that one is living a life of recovery. As such, we apply the principles of relapse prevention and peer support to a variety of clinical concerns, including (but not limited to) peer support communities for: Substance Use & Recovery, Supportive Gaming, “The Ripple Effect” – for those with loved ones struggling with addictions, “Renew” – for those experiencing depression & anxiety, “Journey to Healing” – for Trauma Survivors, and “Nourish” – for those with Eating Disorders/Concerns.